Friday, 29 February 2008

My parents were here last week

It were so good to have them with us in Yanbu. I asked them wether they enjoyed Yanbu.. they said very much.. if only they do not have anything to do back in home country for sure they will stay for at least another week. Since they have business to look after(while they were not arround, my brother, Yusoff taking over the duty), and also Sofiah(my youngest sister, 9 ).. so they got not choice.

Earlier, we already plan to invite my parent also Sofiah. At first, the travel agency said they can arrange the visa. Almost 8 other people would like to join(cousins and aunties) when they heard that the agency can arrange for them. But at the end the agency declined. Not sure what are the reasons. They said the visa is not open yet. Somehow when we were in Mecca, we met a group of Malaysian(about 20) who came to KSA using visiting visa via UTAS Travel, and the cost we found quite high, almost like Ramadhan Umrah package. That's mean it can be arranged though the price we found unreasonable.

After almost 2 years staying in KSA, we found that moving around in KSA is not easy for outsiders and neither to the resident(expatriats). Every city has its own checkpoints. To purchase public transport tickets require you to show your valid identification card. Those who come to KSA with Umrah visa only allowed to enter Madinah and Mecca.Not other cities. That's what we have been informed. Only residents and those who come with visiting visa can travel around the kingdom.

All visitors will go through thorough checkup at the imigration before entring the country. It is very unlucky to women to enter or mobile in this kingdom if you do not have your mahram with you. Woman who is going to work here, before enter the kingdom, the employer representative must pick her in the airport, if not written permission will be sent through fax to the airport to allow her to come in or to change flight to another cities where she is going to work by the employer. If the employer forget to do that you will stuck in the airport for few days(in a detention room).

Woman also have difficulties in booking hotel room if you do not have man mahram. It happened several months ago reported in the newspaper, woman with small kids finally slept on the pedestrian road in the cold chilly night after unable to get room due to her husband was not with her at that time. So it sound unreasonable but that is the fact here.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Winter in Yanbu

"Haza like Malizi"(this is like Malaysia).. suddenly a man behind me shouted joyfully. But I replied to him.. haza mafi like Malizi.. Malizi matar kathir.. huna qaliill... "(this is not like Malaysia, Malaysia has a lot of rain, here is very little)

This conversation has been told to me by my hubby taken place in his office. As in previous entry.. rain is very much welcome by the people here. The one and only reason why they(saudi) love to go to Malaysia just because its rainy season and so many green areas. As they said Malaysia like Jannah.In my heart( If only they have trip to the Malaysia -East Coast, what would they feel..- insya Allah this Summer Vacation I will have my trip to Lang Tengah Island-rengganu).Get excited after read thru friends review bout the place..)

Photo were taken during the downpour.

Not only kids enjoyed the rain so much. Adults also can't stop themselves playing in the rain. In the college, almost all administrative officers will stop their works and enjoyed the rain. In fact, the meeting which we supposed to have also was cancelled and adjourned to the next day... whalla.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Weekend in Madinah Al-Munauwwarah

End of Muharram and Safar is the best time to visit Madinah and Mecca. During this time, both cities are not crowded, as 90% of the Hujjaj or Hajj pilgrimage already returned back to their homeland.

We went to Madinah last 2 week and this was our first trip to Madinah since we performed Hajj. We left Yanbu at 7.30 am with our new Mazda MPV, and we arrived Madinah two hours later. As usual there was nothing interesting we can see along the journey except sand dune, mountain and camels.

It was cold and windy when we arrived there. Yanbu is much better than Madinah since we enjoy moderate weather. According our local friends, Madinah can go as lower as 5 degree celcius at night while Yanbu only 11 celcius.

Quba Mosque (picture) was our first stop point. This is the first mosque built by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) when he arrived in Madinah from Mecca. It was said, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) used to came to this mosque to offer pray in it. According to Hadith; whoever come and visit Quba Mosque and offer 2 rakaah prayer, he will be rewarded as like he perform an umrah.

We leaved to Haram (Prophet Mosque) for Jumaat Prayer and we reached there around 11.00 am. We parked our car a little bit further and walked to Haram as as to avoid crowd and traffic hastle. Chill weather forced us to keep on with jacket although we were not comfortable with it.

After prayer, we took our lunch at an Indonesian Restaurant. I met someone looked quite familiar to me.After a short taaruf, I remembered him. We were once together worked in one project in Putrajaya. He was with KLCCPB and I was the consulting engineer supervising the project. Now, he is working with Ranhill as PMT (Project Management Team) in Thuail, Jeddah.

We left Madinah after maghrib prayer and arrived home, 2 hours later.